This October I took part in Inktober, drawing an inked picture every day for a month that I found out about via an illustrator friend Alex. I hadn’t heard of it, googled it to the source and found a guy called Jake Parker who set up the challenge back in 2009. The aim is simply get more people drawing everyday for fun and creativity which. It’s a great idea, so got on board and did my first sketch on the 1st October.
I’m writing this post on 2nd November and looking at the picture I did thirty days ago, it’s terrible, really rushed and no line quality. Which is the point of course, to get habitually back into drawing and inking as a means to improve a little each day for fun. I don’t think I can be reminded too often how much I like drawing, and so I love the idea of inktober.
With all my commissioned illustration work, like the book I did for Arthur Bostrom which launched in the middle of the month, getting it right is by nature really time consuming. As an illustrator, stand-up comedian, teacher and all the other professional hats I wear, there’s only so much time in the day. So I allowed myself this month to really focus on inktober, and reminded myself how I love drawing without a deadline.
The whole point is just to drawing with whatever tools you have, you don’t need fancy pens or brushes, straight to ink if possible. There’s a great video by Jake Parker which talks about it being as much about drawing as filling your ‘ideas bank’, and he’s dead right, because often half the battle when you don’t have a brief is deciding what to draw.
After the first few days I was quite literally drawing a blank, so took a time out to brainstorm a load of ideas. A favourite quote of mine goes something along the lines of “the world doesn’t need big ideas, it needs lots of little experiments”, so I jotted down a load of quirky things that were funny, or something that happened that day, and filled out a list.
Some of my ideas were odd but the point was bit not to overthink it, just have an idea and draw it. My thinking was if it was a strong enough idea it would explain itself.
There was a prompt list a list for every day he has a word that you can be inspired by to draw something, but I didn’t used that. I think it’s important to have a lot of ideas and not get precious about them. I got as much reward from generating good ideas as the drawing.
Watching other peoples work online was great, and seeing my line quality, and pen strokes tighten and refine over the course of days was really rewarding. I’m about to commence a large illustration commission, and it’s great to feel already ‘match fit’ at the sketch stage, having come straight off #inktober.
Here are some highlights;